Snapshot #23 Compare and contrast Aztec and Incan economic exchange

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SNAPSHOT #23 Compare and contrast Aztec and Incan economic exchange

Historical context (what, where, when)

Mesoamerican civilization: Aztecs in Mexico

Andean civilization: Incas in Peru

Their economies in 1300-1500s
Thesis similarity

Relying on agriculture to survive
Thesis difference

Different means of exchange (currency)

Evidence that supports thesis similarity

Economy based on planting/harvesting

Rarely hunted (special occasions)
Similarity distinct from thesis (with other evidence)

Markets and trade. Largest market in the Aztec empire was Tlatelco in Tenochtitlan

(capital city) Incas were able to able to travel to every corner of their empire b/c they built

Bridges that crossed rivers
Reason why they are similar

Provided a better source of food than hunting did

Evidence that supports thesis difference

Aztecs: Cacao beans, valuable cloth called quachtli. If a common man gave 10 quachtli he could have a place to live for 6 months in Tenochtitlan

Incas: barter system (llama for firewood)
Difference distinct from thesis(with other evidence)

Aztecs used chinampas (floating artificial islands). Created productive gardens

Incas used irrigation systems and terrace farming b/c of the mountains
Reason why they are different

Particular styles of farming that fit their topographies

Conclusion (restate thesis)

They had similar foundations of economies but different in the way they thrived

World History Isabella

SNAPSHOT #23 Compare and contrast Mesoamerican (Aztec) and Andean (Incan) economic exchange
From the 1300-1500s, the economy of Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations such as the Aztecs and Incas were very advanced for their time. Although they had similar foundations for their economies, the way these societies prospered was quite different. Both the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in Peru relied on agriculture to survive, but each had their own means of exchange or currency.

The Aztec and Incan civilizations had similar bases for their people to live and grow as a community. Their economies were based on planting and harvesting and rarely hunted animals. When they did hunt, it was only for special occasions. They were similar because both societies realized that farming provided a better source of food than hunting did. The Aztecs and Incas grew corn, sweet potatoes, squash, beans, tomatoes, and avocados. Another similarity between the Aztec and Incas economy was that they traded and had flourishing markets. Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire, had many markets where people came for anything and everything and most farmers and other product sellers came to the largest Aztec market called Tlatelco. The Incas were also able to trade and sell their products through extensive roads they built themselves. The Incas made use of their mountainous lands by creating bridges that crossed from mountain to mountain that allowed the Incas to travel to every corner of their empire. The Aztec and Incan empires had their similarities primarily in the foundation of their economy.

The two civilizations had differences in the specifics of their economy such as their currency. The Aztecs paid usually with cacao beans as a means of exchange but also acquired a valuable cloth called quachtli. It was worth much more than cacao beans and it is said that if a common man were to give 10 quachtli, he could have a place to live for 6 months in the city of Tenochtitlan. The Incan society relied on bartering, such as trading a llama for firewood. Another very large difference was the way these empires farmed and harvested their plants. The Aztecs used the method of floating artificial islands called chinampas to grow their crops. It was a smart way to claim the water and it created very productive gardens. The Incas, because of their topography, used the method of terrace farming or leveling a section of a mountain to make it usable for farming. It gave the mountains step-like appearances. They also had intricate irrigation systems around their empire. These particular styles of farming were used to fit their topographies and that is the major reason why the Aztecs and the Incas are different. The Inca, especially being an Andean civilization, had mountains and other natural barriers to live with. These two advanced societies had their differences mainly with the method of agriculture and means of exchange.

The economy of Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations had similar foundations yet different particular characteristics of the economy, such as their currency and form of farming. These empires thrived in what they created and even more than 500 years later, the Aztecs and Incas never cease to fascinate us.

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